“I have carpal tunnel syndrome(CTS). Can I sue my employer?” is a common question asked. by workers experiencing pain in their wrists. Answer: No, you can’t sue your employer for a carpal tunnel injury. But you can file a workers compensation claim.
Definition of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a slim, rigid passageway. It is comprised of bone and ligament that are located at the base of the hand. The carpal tunnel contains the median nerve and tendons.
If tendons become inflammed or irritated usually because of overuse, swelling may occur and cause the nerve to tighten or compress resulting in pain, numbness or tingling.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve…becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.”
CTS is categorized as a repetitive injury and must be diagnosed by a doctor.
Facts About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In 2015, 1 million worker
Consider the following.
– CTS can result from many sources including pregnancy, arthritis, age, obesity and gender.
– CTS and a cyst or tumor in the canal have similar symptoms
– Job duties such as typing, adding numbers on a cash register, slicing, pressing down on an object, etc. without taking a break or exercising the area can cause CTS.
– CTS is not limited to a particular industry. However, manufacturing (assembling), sewing and fishing are common jobs entailing the injury.
– Women are three times more likely to get CTS
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a state-governed program that provides compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
An exam of your hands and arms along with your shoulder and neck is needed to determine an accurate diagnosis. A doctor will check your wrists for discoloration and swelling and your fingers will be tested to assess the level of sensation.
Other tests include the Tinsel Test which reveals painful tingling and the Phalen test, a study of wrist flex on entailing the pressing back of hands together to gauge numbness. Nerve conduction studies are also used.
Objections Raised About Your Claim
Because the source of CTS can be difficult to prove, a lawyer may question the claimant’s lifestyle.
– Does the claimant have another job that entails duties that could contribute to the condition?
– Does the claimant have a hobby like tennis that requires repetitive motion?
Accident or Occupational Disease?
Workers compensation laws vary based on the jurisdiction of the state where you live.
Some states categorize CTS as an accident or one-time event like a slip and fall or car accident or repetitive injury.
Other states consider it as an occupational disease or an illness occurring over a period of time and relating to a specific feature of the job. It is a question of cause and effect and requires the consideration of your job history.
Most cases of CTS can be treated with rest. The use of splints, diuretics and steroids are also effective. Alternative remedies include chiropractic treatment, acupuncture and yoga.
However, for severe cases, carpal tunnel release may be necessary. It entails a cut through the ligament to increase the narrow area near the median nerve and tendon.
The burden of proof in your workers compensation case is your responsibility. Choose a qualified lawyer with a successful track record of winning repetitive injury cases. Then you can get the medical care you need and return to work as quickly as possible.
INJURED ON THE JOB ?
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